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iPhone SE (2016) Review - Battery Life and Verdict Review

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iPhone SE Battery Life – Impressive staying power

The iPhone 5S didn’t have the stamina I hoped for when I reviewed it back in 2013. It was average at best. Since the iPhone SE’s battery is only a smidgen larger, I didn’t have high hopes, despite the fact that Apple told me battery life is 50% better than the old flagship’s.

Scoff I did, but my scoff was thrown back in my face with gusto. This phone has impressive staying power.
iPhone SE 13
In day-to-day use I regularly find myself with more than 60% left over by the time I get home from a hard day at the TrustedReviews offices, and more than 40% by the time I’m ready to head to the land of nod.

Different uses drain the battery more than others. I found that it lasted a long time when streaming content to it via Wi-Fi with the screen brightness at 70% – 11 hours of Netflix on one charge is a great effort. Of course, intense 3D gaming impacts the battery more than simple Wi-Fi web browsing and I found using the iPhone SE to navigate around London drained the battery more quickly than I expected.

Related: Best Smartphones
iPhone SE 18
It took a fair amount of effort to run the battery down to zero in a single day, but I managed it with two hours of Wi-Fi video streaming, shooting 100 photos, doing less than an hour of 2D gaming, two-ish hours of GPS navigation and four hours of browsing the web, reading emails and looking at my favourite news apps – the latter on 4G.

That’s seriously impressive stuff and beats the iPhone 6S, although it doesn’t quite reach the heady levels of the iPhone 6S Plus.

If you want to make the battery on the iPhone SE last a little longer then make sure you select “Yes” when it asks you to turn on “Battery Saver Mode”. This appears when you’re down to your last 20%, but you can turn it on any time manually by going to Settings and then to the Battery section. Battery saver mode reduces the power consumption of the processor and limits background tasks so the iPhone SE can last longer.

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Unlike some of the latest Android flagships, the iPhone SE doesn’t have fast charging or wireless charging capabilities, so you’ll need to tether it to a Lightning cable when it’s running low on juice. A one-hour charge gives you 63% of your battery back from empty and you can fully recharge in a little under two hours.

Should I buy the iPhone SE?

If you love a small phone but feel you’re missing out on a top-notch camera, solid battery life and speedy processor, the iPhone SE is impossible to ignore. It delivers in spades and doesn’t have a comparable competitor.

Even though it’s the lowest-priced iPhone we’ve ever seen, it’s still not cheap, especially since the 16GB option is inadequate for most users. However, if you look after it then its resale value will remain high. No other phones retain their value quite like iPhones do.

The one major downside, for some, will be the distinctly average front-facing camera. If you’re a registered member of the selfie generation then consider yourself warned.

We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.

Used as our main phone for the review period

Reviewed using respected industry benchmarks and real world testing

Always has a SIM card installed

Tested with phone calls, games and popular apps

Trusted Score

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Score in detail

  • Performance 10
  • Camera 8
  • Design 7
  • Battery Life 9
  • Value 9
  • Software 9
  • Calls & Sound 8
  • Screen Quality 7

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